Everyone that knits or crochets has at one time or another faced the dilemma of dealing with balls of yarn that seem to have a mind of their own, causing turmoil and making an otherwise fun activity suddenly feel like a day at the salt mine. There are a few simple tricks that can help to minimize the impact of these difficulties, allowing more thought to actually being creative rather than avoiding the pitfalls of a ball of yarn that simply will not cooperate.
To start with, when making a ball of yarn it is important to create a ball that is as nearly perfectly round as is possible that has been wrapped in uniform tightness. This enables to ball of yarn to turn smoothly as the yarn is released, eliminating snags and yarn balls that seem to end up with one flat side. A great way to accomplish this is to purchase a small styrofoam ball that is used in crafting and punch a hole through the center with a large nail. The yarn end is then pushed through the center hole with a knot tied into the end and a perfectly round yarn ball can then be established.
When knitting or crocheting with your yarn ball there are a number of ways to keep it from rolling about the room, but there is one that is a personal favorite - the coffee can caddy. Take a clean coffee can, remove the lid and using a scissors or utility knife cut a nickel size hole in the center of the lid. Place your ball of yarn into the coffee can and thread the yarn end through the hole and replace the lid tightly, securing the lid with two small pieces of tape. This is an excellent way to keep your yarn ball stationary and clean, especially when traveling in a car or on public forms of transportation.
When storing balls of yarn the two most important aspects are to make certain they are not exposed to dirt and that the yarn end can be found quickly. An easy way to achieve this is to take a piece of common plastic food wrap that comes on a roll and remove about a 16 inch piece. Place your yarn ball in the center and tape the yarn end to the plastic wrap using a small piece of masking tape. Pull up the corners of the plastic wrap and twist the wrap around the yarn ball, securing the wrap with a tie from an old bread bag.